Do you find that it takes forever to get the water hot when running the taps? Or perhaps it’s just not reaching the temperatures you expect? Over time, even a hot water system can start to perform poorly. Take a look at yours and hopefully there is something you can do to fix it. Some fixes can be done yourself, but contacting a professional (someone like Plumbing Detectives) may be necessary.
Let’s take a look at some common reasons why your hot water system may not be working at optimum lately.
Once the water heats up, the pressure always drops off. Not a great situation when it’s time for a shower. Sediment and corrosion can build up in the hot water pipes, lowering the pressure. If it only seems to happen at certain taps or fixtures, you can pinpoint where the blockage has occurred and start your pipe examination there and work back towards the source. You may have to remove several pieces of pipe to examine their state.
If it’s the entire house that has low hot water pressure, then you can start at the tank and work your way outward. There can also be sediment build-up within the tank itself, and that might be the best place to start your investigation. Shut off the cold water supply, unplug the tank and drain it. Sediment can drain out as sludge or a grainy material like sand. Let some more water flow into the tank and drain again. You can also add vinegar to the tank to help dissolve the material and clean out the system.
This is probably the most common problem with an ageing hot water system, that it just don’t seem to get hot enough anymore. In this case, you probably need to replace the heating element. It’s not that complicated a job though you may want to consult with a plumber. Even if you hire a pro to help with this, a new heating element is usually cheaper than having to replace the entire tank so it’s worth the effort and expense.
Another possible cause for heating issues is that the thermostat has worn out and needs replacing. This can also be the root cause of water that gets too hot, which can happen occasionally too.
Are you starting to hear a strange popping noise coming from your hot water tank? This is another ageing problem that relates back to sediment build-up again. It’s interfering with the element and the water is starting to actually boil, making that bubbling popping sound. Follow the same steps as mentioned above to clean things out.
Once your hot water tank reaches its 10th or 12th year, you may actually have to replace the entire unit. They simply don’t last forever. Give these ideas a try and you may be able to keep things going hot for a few extra years. If you are going to replace your tank, get an efficient EnergyStar model to help save some money.